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Iran Tests Longest-Range Missiles   
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Iran has successfully test-fired some of the longest range missiles in its arsenal, state media says.

The Revolutionary Guards tested the Shahab-3 and Sajjil rockets, which are believed to have ranges of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles), reports said. The missiles' range could potentially reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf, analysts say.

The tests come amid heightened tension with the big international powers over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Last week, Iran disclosed it was building a second uranium enrichment plant, despite UN demands that it cease its enrichment activities.

Iran is due to hold crucial talks with the five UN Security Council members plus Germany on Thursday on a wide range of security issues, including its nuclear programme.

"An improved version of Shahab-3 and the two-stage Sajjil, powered by solid fuel, were fired," the Guards' air force commander Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the state-owned Arabic language Al-Alam television channel.

These tests are part of several days of military war game exercises known as Sacred Defence Week. On Sunday, the medium-range Shahab-1 and 2 missiles with a range of 300 to 700km (186 to 434 miles) were tested.

The short-range Tondar-69 and Fateh-110 type, with a range of up to 170km (100 miles), were also tested. The Shahab-3 and Sajjil rockets are believed to be capable of reaching not only Israel and US bases in the Gulf, but also parts of Europe.

The BBC's Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says Iran's enemies might be most worried by the test-firing of the Sajjil missile. The Sajjil is a new, two-stage missile using solid fuel, which is considered to give a more accurate delivery than liquid fuel rockets.

Although the tests are likely to have been planned in advance, Iran will not be unhappy if they are seen as a gesture of defiance by the West, our correspondent adds. Iran is under increasingly pressure to co-operate fully over its nuclear ambitions - particularly since the revelation of a previously undisclosed uranium enrichment plant.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has insisted that the plant, near the holy city of Qom, does not breach UN regulations and says it is open for inspection by UN experts. But leaders of the US, Britain and France accuse Tehran of keeping the plant secret in breach of UN rules. They have raised the prospect of new, tougher sanctions against Iran if Thursday's meeting with the so-called P5+1 (US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) yields little progress.

Source: BBC

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